Blues looking to bounce back to best after missing match

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Most of the squad have returned to training, with Saturday’s game the first of three games in eight days in a demanding schedule in the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition.


Centurion Ofa Tuungafasi makes his first start to lead the pack that also sees the return of regular starters in Josh Goodhue and Tom Robinson, while James Tucker earns his first start in Blues colours.


The backline is similar to that in the home win over the Highlanders at North Harbour Stadium, with Sam Nock getting his first start of the season, and Zarn Sullivan returns to the starting line-up at fullback.


“We are looking to reset again after missing a game last week. We have taken care in how players are returning to play for their best welfare, especially given we have a challenging run of three games in eight days,” said head coach Leon MacDonald.


“That said, the team is firmly focussed on this game and we are not getting ahead of ourselves.



“We had to fight hard to get the win over the Highlanders two weeks ago, but we can’t afford to have a slow start as we did at North Harbour. The Highlanders are a different team on their home ground, especially with the fast and open game that you get under the roof in Dunedin.


“We are looking for our experienced game-drivers to set the standards but also excited with the opportunity for some of our young players also.”


Blues team to play Highlanders on Saturday in Dunedin, kick-off 4.35pm:


The team is (Blues caps in brackets):

(Blues caps in brackets)

1. Ofa Tuungafasi (110)

2. Kurt Eklund (27)

3. Marcel Renata (22)

4. James Tucker (1)

5. Josh Goodhue (40)

6. Tom Robinson (36)

7. Dalton Papalii © (47)

8. Hoskins Sotutu (27)

9. Sam Nock (43)

10. Beauden Barrett (8)

11. Caleb Clarke (30)

12. Bryce Heem (10)

13. Rieko Ioane (77)

14. Mark Telea (28)

15. Zarn Sullivan (9)


16. Ricky Riccitelli (2)

17. Jordan Lay (1)

18. Nepo Laulala (15)

19. Sam Darry (8)

20. Adrian Choat (7)

21. Taufa Funaki (1)

22. Corey Evans (0)

23. Stephen Perofeta (34)


Not considered: Akira Ioane, Harry Plummer, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Finlay Christie, Luke Romano.



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